Ramon Leon

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Ramon Leon, Tony Leon’s father and former judge, dies

It’s a terrible time for the Leon family.

Ramon Leon

Gallo Images

This piece was initially published implying that Ramon Leon was “the hanging judge”. This has since been disapproved. We apologise sincerely for this error.

Ramon Leon – whose son Tony went on to become the leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA) – has passed away this weekend.

The news was reported by The Citizen earlier on Monday. Leon senior earned a strong reputation during his time as a High Court judge in the apartheid era.

Who was Ramon Leon?

The judge – who spent 20 years on the bench in Natal sentenced a 19-year-old Andrew Zondo to the noose after his involvement in the Amanzimtoti shopping centre bombing, where five people died.

The bomb was in response to an SA Defence Force raid on Maseru, Lesotho, a few days earlier in which nine people were killed.

Judge Ramon Leon did not sentence Solomon Mahlangu to death, but he did turn down his appeal before he was executed in 1979.

Ramon and Tony Leon

His passing comes at a time when the Leons are under intense scrutiny. Sydney Mufamadi has implicated Tony in the efforts to get Winnie Mandela convicted for crimes she did not commit when Mrs Mandela was a target of the apartheid spin machine.

Though this is currently just Mufamadi’s word, it’s a revelation that neither Leon junior – nor the DA – will want to hear.

What Leon did after leaving the bench

In his later years, Ramon Leon worked as an adviser to the Lesotho government, before retiring to Pretoria. When he was attacked in his own home back in 2008, it prompted John Steenhuisen to say the ANC had “lost control” of crime in the country.